Hipstamatic launches Oggl 2.0, a mobile photo curation service

With over a billion photos being uploaded to the Internet, there is a discovery problem, argues Lucas Buick, chief executive officer and co-founder of San Francisco-based Hipstamatic. To solve that problem of plenty, the company has launched a new version of its Oggl app.

The new (and much improved) version, Oggl 2.0 (which costs $10 a year), essentially is a meta photo-app/service that not only allows folks to aggregate their photos from Hipstamatic and Instagram, but it also has built in photo-capture capabilities. The company will add capabilities to integrate photos from other services, such as 500px and Flickr, relatively soon. Oggl 2.0 is currently for iPhones with  iOS 6 and above. An updated version for Windows Phone 8 will be released in the coming weeks.

Hipstamatic CEO Lucas BuickThe new version allows folks to experience photos from various difference accounts and, more importantly, it allows people to create “collections.” For instance, you can create a collection of all the photos with “Latte Art” and then share it with your followers on Oggl. Similarly, it allows folks to re-share individual photos to their own feeds and to their followers. The focus is also on discovery of photos and the folks who take them. From a brief look I got at the app, I saw much less clutter than Oggl 1.0, but still a significant amount of work needs to be done in order to simplify the app. I’ll have more to say when I get to try it out after it is made available at the iTunes store.

Hipstamatic, the company, has been through a bit of a roller coaster. Even though it was an early entrant into the world of mobile photography with its app that mimicked old-fashioned cameras, vintage films and lenses, the company lost its lead to a simpler and more social Instagram, which went on to being acquired by Facebook for nearly a billion dollars. Hipstamatic had to cut its engineering team in 2012 and retrench. It now employs seven people and outsources development of its Windows app to a company in New York. Today, about 4.5 million people use Hipstamatic every month and share between 60-to-70 million photos on a monthly basis. Oggl has less than a million users.

In May 2013, the company announced the first version of Oggl, and at that time Buick told Gigaom that he was “not trying to build something to be a new communication tool. It’s really an art tool.” Buick now says that it is about curation. “If Hipstamatic was for helping foster creation of photos with iPhones,” says Buick, “the new Oggl 2.0 is for curation of photos.”

Let’s hope others agree with him — and buy into the new app, much like they bought into the original Hipstamatic.